eXtreme efFiciency

Yes, we really can have all the modern conveniences and clear consciences and a safe planet, too.
We just have to make the right choices

Monday, October 3

People want efficiency. Yes they do

An overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, believe that oil companies have been engaged in price gouging, taking advantage of recent events including the devastation of back-to-back hurricanes in its principal petroleum-producing areas to boost their own profits. And they want the government to take action.
A new poll released in mid-September found that 87 percent think the companies "are currently gouging consumers at the gas pump," and 81 percent think the US government is not doing enough about it. Strong majorities support a big increase in fuel-efficiency requirements, new taxes on the oil companies' windfall profits, and a mandate that car companies be required to convert all their models to fuel-efficient hybrid technology.
Raising the fuel-efficiency standards for US cars from the present 27.5 miles per gallon to 40 mpg would "reduce our dangerous dependence on Middle Eastern oil, making us more secure in the world," said Pam Solo, president of Civil Society Institute, a nonpartisan think tank which commissioned the poll along with 40mpg.org. In addition, she said, with the higher efficiency requirement, "air pollution is reduced, and we can cut the US contribution to global warming by a third."
With three out of four Republicans as well as Democrats convinced the government is not doing enough to address energy issues and the oil companies' profiteering, "Americans apprear to be coalescing in substantial and surprisingly bipartisan majorities behind major new federal policies," said Wayne Russum, president of the Opinion Research Corporation, which conducted the new poll of 1,019 Americans last week. A new tax on the windfall profits, earmarked specifically for research on alternative energy, was supported by 79 percent.
By contrast, the comprehensive energy bill passed by the US Congress earlier this year is mostly geared toward support of petroleum, coal, and nuclear power, with alternative energy research given relatively little funding.
Russum said that the poll marks a significant change in US public opinion, with 80 percent now "in a frame of mind where they want Detroit car makers to follow the lead of Toyota in powering all future vehicles with fuel-saving hybrid technology."
Only 4 percent of poll respondents said that "no price gouging is going on" by the industry. And because of the recent sharp spikes in fuel prices at the pump, about three-quarters of people in both parties think it is much more or somewhat more important than before to increase the fuel-economy requirements.
The poll had a sampling error margin of 3 percent.
Check out the study here.